Though there seems to be progress in stopping the leak in the Gulf, the misperceptions about oil on beaches may take far longer for the travel industry to fix. Travelocity recently conducted a poll of over 2,000 Americans and found that many travelers believe the oil has spread far beyond its actual reach. For example, one in four respondents named the Florida Keys as one of the top three destinations they thought were impacted by the spill. One in four also named Panama City as affected, although the beaches are clean and open.
Travelocity asked: “Based on what you’ve heard in the news, which would you say are the top three destinations that you think are most affected by the oil spill?” Here are the results:
While many travel companies – including Travelocity – have launched pages dedicated to providing information about Gulf Coast travel, misperceptions abound. Though it’s impossible to predict the long-term effect these misperceptions will have on tourism, it may be possible for tourism officials to lure travelers to the region with good deals. Though 24 percent of respondents said they were less interested in visiting the Gulf now than before the oil spill, more than one quarter of those said they would go if they found a compelling deal. An additional seven percent who were never interested in visiting would consider a trip if they found a good deal.